Queen’s Birthday Honours: Redbridge barrister awarded MBE for helping vulnerable people with free legal aid
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:50 13 October 2020
A Redbridge barrister who offers free legal advice to help vulnerable members of the community has been made an MBE.
Islam Chowdhary, 79, has been a barrister for more than 38 years and is happiest when he can help people when they have nowhere else to turn.
He was among those included on the delayed Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his services to the legal profession.
Islam told the Recorder: “I feel so honoured to be given this award, particularly for my sustained charitable efforts.
“I am really very happy and it touched my heart.”
He has lived in Redbridge for the past 50 years and is a go-to person for Ilford MPs and councillors to offer legal support to residents who need help.
He said: “It really puts a smile on my face when someone seeks my advice and they can’t pay a solicitor and I can offer them some assistance.”
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Before lockdown every Thursday at the Imamia Mission mosque in Newbury Park Islam would offer free legal aid on everything from civil matters, housing issues, immigration problems and boundary disputes.
He is now offering his advice remotely throughout the pandemic.
Islam is an active member in community social action groups and neighbourhood watch teams.
In 2018 he was the runner-up in the Redbridge Mayor’s Community Awards as a Community Champion.
He is also a trustee of the charity Muslim Care which seeks to educate and empower children in developing countries.
Through his work with Muslim Care the group has donated £35,000 towards a special needs school in Ealing and has helped build schools in some of the most deprived areas in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Kenya.
Islam moved to England in 1968 and said the period until he started his independent practice was a difficult one.
“When I look back times were hard and my wife really helped support me through that period and it’s really an honour to be given this award now.”
Islam and his wife have three daughters, one of whom has followed in her father’s footsteps and is a solicitor in America.
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